In another blog entry, we discussed the concept of negligence, which includes the elements of a duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. But it’s one thing to read about the definition of negligence and have a basic understanding of it. Proving it is a different story. Your Las Vegas personal injury attorney must be experienced in understanding what is required to prove your case.
Step one is proving that the Defendant actually did something wrong. Sometimes, bad things happen even if no one did anything wrong. So how do you know if somebody did something they weren’t’ supposed to, or failed to do something they were required to do. In many cases, common sense will tell you that a driver, cyclist, or pedestrian acted carelessly, but you may not know what rules that person violated. What you need is some support for your conclusion that someone did something wrong, and then information supporting what happened as a result of someone doing something wrong. Without that support, proving a Nevada personal injury case may be difficult or impossible. So here are some common resources for finding support for your case.
If the police reported to the scene of an accident, it is virtually a certainty that they made a report. Police officers deal with accidents every day and are trained to evaluate the scene and make a determination as to the cause of the accident. Sometimes the police report will state the officer’s opinion as to who was at fault. Sometimes the report will actually cite to a specific rule or regulation that was broken. And you if you are really lucky, the report might state all that and mention that the officer issued a citation to the other driver. A police report that indicates the fault of another driver is a fantastic piece of evidence in your favor. Your Las Vegas personal injury attorney will know how to get this report for you.
State Traffic Laws
Pretty much every state has a group of statutes that are commonly referred to as the “rules of the road.” Nevada’s rules of the road are located here. The rules of the road may have laws that are exactly on point in your case, such as the right of way, posted speed limits, consumption of alcohol, overtaking, stopping and yielding. When an accident occurs and it occurred due to the violation of one of these laws, it is called “negligence per se” and it is very difficult for a defendant to defeat a claim based on negligence per se. In other words, if another person broke a law, and that law was intended to prevent incidents such as yours, and the breaking of that law did in fact result in that type of incident, then the fault of the other driver is substantially proven.
Clear Fault cases
In some Nevada personal injury cases (and in most other states as well), some accidents occur where the other driver is responsible for the accident 99% of the time. A rear-end collision is a good example. If you are stopped ahead of someone, it is nearly impossible for you to have been at fault if someone hits you from behind. Your case at that point is not about proving liability, but proving your resulting damages. Another good example is a car turning left in front of a vehicle going straight. Your Las Vegas automobile accident attorney will quickly identify if liability is not an issue and move straight to working to prove your damages.
In cases such as product liability cases or medical malpractice cases, the concept of what actually went wrong can be very complicated, and beyond the capability of the injured person or their attorney to describe what happened. In such circumstances, the Court will allow the testimony of people very knowledgeable in the particular area to give opinion as to what went wrong. If a brain surgeon did something wrong, only an expert in brain surgery is capable to telling the jury how that surgeon messed up. An expert will know the correct standard for performing that brain surgery, or for designing or manufacturing a product. Your Las Vegas personal injury attorney will locate and retain an appropriate expert when one is need.
One you have proved by reports, applicable laws, photographs, or witness testimony that another person was at fault, you then have to prove your damages. This includes damage to your car, which is accomplished with an estimate from an auto body shop. The damage to your body is proven with the introduction of your medical records and testimony from your physicians if necessary. If you have suffered great mental distress then your friends and family can testify as to the mental effects of your injury, and even your psychologist if you have chosen to consult with one.
If you take the time to read through our Las Vegas Personal Injury blog entries you will start to get the picture for the shear breadth of issues that can arise in a Nevada personal injury case. Without the proper assistance from a Las Vegas personal injury law firm, you will be at a tremendous deficit in knowledge, skill, and experience and you will get substantially less out of your case than you would with an attorney, even after accounting for attorney fees. This is a no-brainer. Give us a call today for a free consultation and be sure to check out our FAQ’s for more information on Las Vegas personal injury.